With the Orange getting swept by another ACC opponent, Is their season slipping away?

Photo Credit: Cuse.com/SU Athletics
Monday, Apr 08, 2024 at 6:03 pm by Sports Editor

Nathaniel Cunningham | @N_cunning_0


Syracuse Softball (16-17, 4-10 Atlantic Coast Conference) started the season 6-3. Then they dropped 6 straight. Afterward, SU bounced back with five straight dubs, then lost its next 4. A week later SU picked its first ACC series win against Georgia Tech and then got swept by Number 17 Clemson.


To say that Syracuse’s season has been streaky is a wild understatement. The Orange have bounced back and forth from being a contender in the ACC to scraping the bottom of a stacked conference. But is all hope lost?


The Errors


The number one topic of conversation that head coach Shannon Doepking has said all season long is the errors. There was a stretch of 9 games from March 12th to March 28th where the Orange tallied 10 errors. In that same period, the Orange went just 3-6. SU has had 8 multi error games and has won just 2 of them. However, Syracuse’s 31 errors on the year is just 10 behind Virginia Tech’s ACC-best 21. What really makes Syracuse look bad is the fielding percentage. The Orange rank in the bottom three in the conference in fielding percentage and are just .012 points from last place NC State. A couple more errors in the next few weeks could see SU in a spot they don’t want to be. 


The Walks


Walking batters is never a good thing and Syracuse doesn’t do a ton of it. The Orange are actually in the top 4 in the least amount of walks given up. However, SU has walked 88 batters in 33 games, and opponents have scored 88 runs in 33 games. For some reason when a run reaches via a free pass, Syracuse can’t respond and its adversary ends up scoring a run. This past weekend, SU walked 15 betters against Clemson and hit another 6. Tally that with the Tigers 22 hits and Clemson outscored Syracuse 30-4 over the weekend. It’s not just a new thing either. In every game, SU has suffered 3 or more walks, and The Orange gives up 3 or more runs. If Syracuse wants to see success in the future, it needs to keep batters off the bases. 


Flipping the Lineup


Through nonconference play, Syracuse’s top-of-the-lineup was stealing the show. Center Fielder Angel Jasso, Left Fielder Taylor Posner, and Catcher Laila Morales-Alves were the offense for Syracuse. Jasso led the team with an above .400 batting average and led the nation in triples, Posner had smashed 10 home runs in half a season compared to the 3 she had in her first 2 years, while Morales-Alves was a much-needed RBI getting in SU’s 4 holes. However, since the start of ACC play, all three have gone quiet. Morales-Alves is hitting .268 but struggling to get on base otherwise, Posner leads the team in strikeouts during conference play, and Jasso is hitting under .200. While players like Madelyn Lopez, Makenzie Foster, and Kelly Breen have all taken this time to shine, SU needs its veterans to step up, especially at the plate. 


Looking Forward


The road ahead is no easy task for Syracuse. The Orange still have Number 13 Virginia Tech and the reigning national champion runner-ups, Number 18 Florida State on their schedule. But before that, SU has a series with an old Big East foe in Seton Hall and the ACC’s worst team, Pittsburgh. Syracuse Also has a handful of non-conference, midweek double headers starting Wednesday against Colgate. The first pitch for game one is set at 2 p.m. with game 2 slated to begin at 4.